How many times do you hear from hiring companies about quality v/s quantity issues with Freshers? We get to see the news about large number of freshers not employable so many times that we are almost desensitized about the issue. Unemployable freshers start the vicious chain of substandard salaries for freshers because employers need to train them for the first year of employment, followed by high attrition rate during first few years of employment. This issue is again on spot light with Skills India initiative of Central Government.
It is easy and obvious to blame education system for the quality of freshers. A lot of quick fixes or Band-Aid solutions bubble up now and then. However, a few seminars and a quick training for soft skills or emotional intelligence or any other new buzz word can’t fix such a deep-rooted problem. First, we need to root cause the issue. What exactly is wrong with education system?
We, at FloCareer performed a nationwide survey to check what they suspected from gut feeling. More than 2,000 college graduates from Science background were asked two simple questions:
- What causes seasons on earth? Primarily, what is responsible for summer and winter on our planet?
- Every tree starts its life with a seed and some of them result into giant trees. Where does the material of the tree come from?
These questions are inspired by Sir Ken Robinson, an educationalist from UK. Sir Robinson asked the same questions to science graduates in Western countries and got surprising responses. Sir Robinson has given very intriguing talks on the subject from TED stage, which are highly recommended.
In our results, we found that out of more than 2,000 participants, not a single person was able to answer both questions correctly. There was something more reflective about how we prepare our students for competitive exams. Almost all of them wrote redundant, long answer to the question. Less than 5% of participants drew a picture or a diagram to express themselves. What does this tell? Instead of being curious about the subjects that we teach in schools and colleges, our system simply focuses on delivery of information. Malcolm Forbes said in his memorable quote, “Goal of education is to convert an empty mind into an open mind”. Instead we fill the mind with lots of information. As part of the strategy to get more marks on subjective, descriptive written papers, we always advise our students to “write something – do not leave it blank”. And that’s what we saw on our answer sheets to above two questions.
The single point answer of why freshers are not employable is lack of curiosity. Every child is curious by nature. Our education system slowly ensures that curiosity is replaced by information! Is there a solution to this problem? While there are no quick fixes, it is possible to make a paradigm shift in our approach towards learning and slowly enjoying the fruits of being curious. Following are some practical guidelines:
Always ask a “Why” question:
If you are a student (or not), whatever information or concept presented you – ask a why question and try to find the answer. Information superhighway is now available to you on finger tips, so once you have the why question, the answer would be available to you very soon.
If you are a teacher or parent, encourage why questions.
The “High school student” test:
When you find answers, ask yourself, “can I explain this to a high school student?” You may find many answers to the why questions online and otherwise, but have you understood enough that you can explain a high school student with this information?
Find relevant analogy:
To be curious and to satisfy that curiosity, find relevant analogy to truly understand the concept and continue to be curious. For example, if you are learning about “Cloud Computing”, the age-old analogy of the pay-per-use concept is our electricity bill. Now, stay curious and find how different are those concepts?
Curiosity is a life skill. It is not just a professional skill or a tool to achieve few short-term goals. Sanskrit word for curious is vismay. May means ego and vis makes the word an antonym. So, you are egoless when you are curious. Curiosity is one of the most wonderful gift from nature to human beings. So, embrace that gift and stay curious!